At Meltwater, we recently noticed that clients sent 188% more emails than the previous year, showing an increased need for media outreach via email. As the number of pitches sent rises, the competition to grab journalists’ attention also grows.

To land more coverage, we analyzed the most successful pitches and distilled them into a simple workflow you can use today.

Here’s the process we recommend:

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Let’s take a look at what the email pitching process looks like.

Personalize Every Email with No Exception

With so much competition, it can be hard for journalists to pay attention to all the emails they receive. The best way to overcome this problem is by using personalization.

According to Experian Marketing Services, email personalization can increase open rates up to 29% with 41% higher in unique click rates. What’s more, one of our clients had a 58% open rate and 21% click-thru rate thanks to email personalization. The only downside to personalization is the time it takes time to correctly implement.

The first step is to organize your media list into groups—what marketers call segmentation. You can segment based on topics previously covered, geography, role, beat, or even by the target audience.

When we talk about personalization, we mean adding unique touches to the message that makes the recipient understand why they should open the email, how it is relevant to their interests, and why its contents are important to them. You’ll want to add this extra touch to each of your segments, making it clear why your pitch is relevant to them.

Here’s the difference between how a personalized email looks in contrast with a non-personalized one:

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Make sure to start the segmentation before you send any emails, and save your lists for future campaigns.

Have a Magnetic Pre-Header Text

In most cases, people focus on the subject line of an email, yet the pre-header text—the little text that shows up to the right of the subject line in the recipient’s email client—matters a lot too.

The goal of the pre-header text is to act as a preview of what your email has to say. You want to grab the recipient’s attention in the pre-header as well as the subject line. One of our clients saw a 30% increase in their pitch open rates thanks to optimizing their pre-header text.

Here’s how it works:

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Make sure to send a version of your email to yourself and see how the pre-header text looks like on the desktop and on your mobile device.

Look Beyond Open Rates

When sending email pitches, it’s important to analyze the results to track performance. One of the first and most widely used metrics is the open rate, as it measures how many people seem interested in receiving your email.

While this metric matters, it doesn’t take into consideration what the recipient—the journalist in our case—does with it. If one journalist opens an email and deletes it, they are probably not a candidate for an even more personalized follow-up.

Along with looking at who opened your email, you’ll want to look at how long they spent reading it, and whether they clicked on any links. These actions show engagement and will help you determine which subset of the initial send you should continue to pursue, offering them additional information. Making the extra effort to follow-up, based on everything you know about their interests and audience, signals that there is a strong story for them to write.

Think of your initial email as a way to test the waters and the follow-up as a way to zero-in on your most promising prospects. When a journalist engages, signaling that they’re ready for additional details, provide the clincher that will lead to coverage of your brand.

PR Takeaways

Using your email as a tool to pitch to journalists and influencers is one of the most effective ways to raise awareness and increase your reach. If you use these three insights, based on the thousands of email pitches we analyzed, you will increase the chances of getting your email pitches opened, read, and acted upon.

For a deeper dive into delivering the perfect pitch watch our 45-minute webinar now.